New to the forums, hesitant to jump in because I think I’m an outlier. I don’t know where I am on the road to FI. I’m 34 and married with two younger children. My wife and I have managed to accumulate $1.87M not including our somewhat modest home in the Midwest. I was lucky to be taught at a very young age to avoid conspicuous consumption and to “live beneath my means” by my responsible parents, and I’ve had high-paying jobs since I graduated with my Masters degree in engineering. I’ve avoided lifestyle inflation, but I do enjoy some fancier trips and being able to buy something when I want something (i.e. we have 6 or 7 Sonos speakers around the house).
We don’t really budget because we are always conscious of not spending too much and our combined income is currently solid, but I probably don’t have the rigor necessary yet to ensure that our expenses are less than 25x our savings. I also like my job and my wife is hoping to continue working part time for the foreseeable future.
Am I financially independent? If so, what does that really mean to me right now? I want to pay for my children’s college tuition and buy their first cars, so future expenses are not negligible. I don’t feel like I have FU money and could storm away from my work if I was unhappy. I mostly enjoy my work and colleagues, but I’ve also wanted to retire since the moment I started my first job 11 years ago. I also don’t know what I would specifically do with new-found free time aside from playing the piano more. So where am I? High net worth, pretty good saver, lacking in extreme rigor, no idea if I’ve crossed the FI-nish line or even where that finish line should be.